Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Two Broadway Ladies

The Ethels

Among Broadways' Best honored this month


Ethel Merman and Ethel Waters are among the talented and tenacious women of Broadway. They sang, acted, and danced their way to the stage that memorialized them. Their abilities earned them well-deserved claim and paved the way for many professional female performers who have come after them.

Both Ethels belong to the panethon of distinguished women of the stage to be celebrated in Transcendence Theatre Company's upcoming The Ladies of Broadway. This musical revue runs March 17 through March 25, 2018 in Northern California's San Rafael and Santa Rosa.

Merman, often referred to as "the undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage" began her career as a torch singer in clubs that headlined celebrities like Jimmy Durante. 

With her powerful voice and pitch she made her debut on Broadway in 1930. She clinched the audition for the role of San Francisco cafe singer Kate Fothergill in the George and Ira Gerswhin musical Crazy Girl. That's when she made  "I Got Rhythm" one of her signature songs.  She also appeared in a series of short Paramount musical films. 

Still active on Broadway, she won the 1950 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in Call Me Madam. She also starred in the 1953 screen adaptation and won the Golden Glove Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

In 1959 she starred in Broadway's Gypsy which had an impressive 702-performance run. 

Waters' full-bodied voice was also legendary. The first woman - the first African American woman - to sing the W.C. Handy classic "St. Louis Blues" on the stage, she rapidly rose to success. At 30 she was already on Broadway.

In 1927 she appeared in the all-black revue Africana and three years later the musical revival of Blackbirds. Her first departure all-black cast shows was Irving Berlins' 1933 musical As Thousands Cheer

Considered to be one of the great blues singers of her day, Waters also performed and recorded with jazz greats Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Several composers wrote songs especially for her, and her name became synonymous with "Stormy Weather."

Women like these two are at the heart of The Ladies of Broadway which presents seven of today's accomplished female artists:

= Lindsay Chambers (Legally Blonde, Hairspray, Lysistrate Jones)
= Jennifer DiNoia (Wicked, National Tour of Momma Mia)
= Amy Hillner Larsen (National Tour of Hairspray, National Tour of Queen of the Desert)
= Leslie McDonel (Hairspray, American Idiot)
= Sydney Morton (Motown the Musical, Memphis, Evita, American Psycho)
= Kristin Piro (Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, An American in Paris, Rocky, Catch Me If You Can)
= Laurie Wells (Mamma Mia, National Tour of An American in Paris)

These legends-in-the-making will perform iconic show tunes and dances made memorable by the two Ethels and many other women trailblazers who helped to shape Broadway for performers and audiences alike. Included are Bernadette Peters, Sutton Foster, and Audra McDonald.

The Ladies of Broadway reflects the high caliber of work that Transcendence Theatre is known for. According to  Director Eric Jackson, this revue also "incorporates stories alongside stellar singing and dancing" that continue to inspire audiences of all ages.

Transcendence Theatre Company is an award-winning, nonprofit arts organization comprised of artists with professional experience from Broadway, film and television. Established in 2011, it is based in Sonoma County. 

Headliners have included Sutton Foster and Megan Hilty, and featured performers have appeared in numerous Broadway productions such as The Book of Mormon, Mamma Mia, Les Misérables, Chicago, La Cage Aux Follies, and Follies.

Details:


Marin Center’s Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, San Rafael: 7:30 p.m. Saturday - March 17 and 2 p.m. Sunday - March 18, 2018. 
Tickets:  www.LadiesOfBroadway.com  or 415-473-6800.

Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa:  2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday - March 24 and 2 p.m. Sunday - March 25, 2018. 
Tickets: www.LadiesOfBroadway.com707-546-3600  Box Office daily 12 to 6 p.m. at 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa.

General tickets: $29 - $89. VIP tickets include pre-show festivities, premium California wines and artisan hors d’oeuvres: $129 - $139.

For more information about Transcendence Theatre Company visit www.BestNightEver.org











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